Kelli does not get down with roaches.
She likes roaches not.
But she finds exotic bugs cool.
And she knows I love exotic-looking bugs.
So this morning in a quiet Thai village beside a forest outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Kelli notified me of this fascinating looking bug when I woke. Said how the colorful guy clung to her dress. Laundry day became laundry night as we left our clothes out for the evening.
Perhaps he appreciated a cling-free black number. Say “yes” to the farang dress.
Or maybe he appreciated the cool, sometimes moist nature of Chiang Mai nights beside the forest. Saving grace of this place now as temps reach close to 100 degrees during day time hours.
In any case, the red horn of buggy – which is a pyrops karenia – seemed to enjoy being on the dress because as I closed up for an Instagram and Facebook shot he did not move nary an inch. Either that or he feared the dinosaur would cook him and eat him. Going with the latter.
Bugs in the Tropics
The pyrops karenia is par for the Southeast Asian course. We see chaps like him quite a bit during our years spent in this tropical region of the world.
I’ve seen everything from exotic cicadas to multi colored beetles to pre-historic looking numbers, during travels to Bali, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. Southeast Asia has some cool-looking bugs.
I’ve also peeped sweet-looking buggies in Costa Rica, notably when Kelli and I spent 6 weeks in a remote jungle a few years ago.
Their Home Not Mine
Save skeeters that eat me alive and get da boot or da burn via an electric racket, I do not kill bugs or any creature as a rule in the tropics. Their home. Not mine.
I’d hate someone who walked into my home in New Jersey and shot me in the head because I looked weird, crazy or intimidating.
Almost all bugs are harmless. Even the Scolopendra centipede I saw in this very same home last year was 40 million times more afraid of me than I feared him. Maybe that ratio ain’t accurate. But he was running and me chasing to bat him out ‘da house last year. I feared him a little. But he feared me, this big old dinosaur countless times his size, more.
If you do travel through tropical areas remember; you are the invited guest. People may meet and greet you but the wildlife, flora and nature in general is the ultimate home team, having lived in these regions for millions to hundreds of millions of years.
Respect these creatures. Beautiful, exotic and charming – and yep, likely, quite different from your home town if you hail from the Western world – the bugs are part of the package.
Do you love the stunning beaches of Phuket? Deal with the centipedes in the jungle.
If you are gaga about Koh Lanta you better embrace the pickup truck sized scorpions crawling around the island.
Bali is a breath-taking island filled with jaw-dropping rice fields and beaches along with exotic looking, sometimes huge bugs.
Embrace the full package. Tropical paradises are tropical paradises because these brilliant bugs are a bit more prevalent than people. If tables were turned, you’d be living in a bland urban setting, and methinks you don’t vacay in Thailand to experience a bland urban setting. In most cases at least.
Fear and Bugs
If you fear big bugs, or exotic looking critters, be with the fear. It’s OK. I recall gazing in horror at my first few huge roaches in places like Thailand, Malaysia, Bali, Costa Rica and Fiji.
But do not act on the fear. Do not kill harmless insects. Find a way to evict harmful insects too by asking locals to help. On an island like Bali where most folks have a deep respect for life, and live in harmony with nature, wrangling and releasing bugs to the jungle is quite normal.
Be in harmony with tropical buggies.
Respect their home.
Be a good guest.